The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Burns

    4
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Groped

    2
  • Falls

    12
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Robbed

    13
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Severe Dehydration

    19